While attending art school in Baltimore, Maryland in the early 90’s Dan Blakeslee, a Maine native discovered that he had an equal and deeply rooted connection to music. He would sneak into the galleries to play his guitar through the late hours of the evening surrounded by easels and oil paintings. After four years in “Charm City,” he returned to his childhood home in the Tatnic Woods of South Berwick, ME. That summer he played street corners in New Hampshire and Maine while working at a lobster restaurant. His employer urged him to sever ties to manual labor for one of a more musical nature. A phone call from a friend offering him a room in Somerville, MA began his journey south in 1995. While settling into this artful community he began to practice his craft in the smoke-laden subways of Boston. He now has been making music and art in the New England region ever since, leading him to tour the U.S. He has performed with Langhorne Slim, Josh Ritter, David Wax Museum, Lydia Loveless, The Lumineers, Deer Tick, The Low Anthem, Brown Bird, Sean Rowe, Jonah Tolchin, Old 97’s, Death Vessel, Kimya Dawson among others. In 2015 his dream of playing Newport Folk Festival became a reality, where Bob Dylan went electric 50 years earlier.
The hills and highways are made for wandering, this is forever rooted in Dan Blakeslee who performs an average of 160+ shows per year. In a gymnasium at Laconia Prison (NH) in 2005, a crowd of 150 inmates became hushed after hearing Blakeslee’s songs of hardship, hope, and true grit later released as a live album. In the late winter of 2006 brought him a string of 27 shows with Tiger Saw (Dylan Metrano, Alan Bull, Angel Deradoorian (Dirty Projectors)) to the southern US and straight up the Mississippi River igniting his passion to continue on this path for the years to come. In June of 2012 upon returning from the 120-mile journey by foot on the Massachusetts Walking Tour Blakeslee mapped out a tour of a different shape slated for the fall of that year. This venture spanned 7 states, with Blakeslee performing 31 shows in 25 days as his Halloween alter ego “Doctor Gasp” making a connect the dots Jack-O-Lantern face on a map of New England. 2013 brought him to Austin, TX in March for SXSW followed by a tour with his band “The Calabash Club” in late June of that year.
Blakeslee has released ten full-length albums to date. Two of them were recorded by long-time art school friend Ron Harrity (Peapod Recordings) the first “Lincoln Street Roughs” was recorded in a warehouse called The Map Room in Portland, Maine in 2007. The next was “Tatnic Tales” released on May 10, 2011. It is a collection of Blakeslee’s country folk songs most stemming from real life experiences. This album features his band The Calabash Club who formed in a Dover, NH basement in October of 2008. The members: Mike Effenberger – piano, Nick Phaneuf – bass, and Jim Rudolf – drums; are the essential ingredients in this acoustic folk outfit. “Tatnic Tales” was recorded in Dean Ludington’s barn in North Berwick, ME by the railroad as the friendship between the members of the band bloomed. “Tatnic Tales” is the first full-length album the band has recorded together to date. Blakeslee’s following album “Owed To The Tanglin’ Wind” was recorded at the Columbus Theatre in Providence, RI by Ben Knox Miller and Jeffrey Prystowsky (The Low Anthem). It was released on August 19th, 2014 with which Blakeslee did extensive touring in 2015. This album received “Album Of The Year” from Red Line Roots. Blakeslee was also awarded 2014 “Folk Artist Of The Year” at the Boston Music Awards, and “Male Performer of The Year” at the 2015 New England Music Awards. After a pause between full-band records his long awaited album “The Alley Walker” recorded by studio wizard Chris Chase (The Noise Floor) featuring his band The Calabash Club came out in 2017 to much acclaim. After touring the US a couple of times and much journeying it was time to get back in the studio. Blakeslee had been dreaming of making a full-length Christmas album for over a decade inspired by his retro music collection. So on a cold winter night in 2019 Blakeslee stepped into the studio for the first session of “Christmasland Jubilee”. This full-length album by Dan Blakeslee and the Calabash Club was revealed on December 1, 2020, and is their third release together.
A prolific artist, Dan Blakeslee has made over 600 rock posters in his career some of which are featured in the book “Art of Modern Rock” published by Chronicle Books. He has done album covers for dozens of bands including Assembly of Dust, Slaid Cleaves, The Tan Vampires, Jonah Tolchin, and many more. After seeing his posters, The Portsmouth Brewery (NH) asked Blakeslee to draft 8 beer label designs and the Northampton Brewery (MA) followed soon after commissioning him to make a label six-pack design. His beer label art has garnered national recognition with the Alchemist Brewery’s (VT) “Heady Topper” in 2012 and “Focal Banger” in 2014. His hand silk-screened posters have traveled the USA in the “National Poster Retrospecticus” in 2013 curated by the LAP Gallery and his own 100 piece Rock Poster Expo that has been exhibited numerous times through the years.